Saturday, December 15, 2007

Arjen Robben: Suffering from Anxiety to Impress

Arjen Robben, the 36 million euro summer signing, has once again injured himself.

I have heard great things about Robben and his immense potential, and as a newer fan to football, I have barely seen him play. It surprised me that Madrid would fork over over 30 million euros for a player who: 1) has an incredible history of injury 2) was injured at the time of the signing 3) was two years away from being a free transfer 4) was not needed, given Robinho's play out on the flank and the signing of Roysten Drenthe 5) was unhappy at Chelsea, and wanted to leave...why pay 36 million if he's given Madrid incredible bargaining power?

Apparently Robben has a lot of heart, and he has been trying too hard to get back on the pitch. He hurts himself, recovers, then pushes too hard when he returns, and hurts himself again. Madrid skipper Bernd Schuster summed it up best, "All this is simply a result of anxiety. He wants to play and demonstrate why he is here. That anxiety has worked against him. It's nothing serious, but we have to try and control it."

I beg to differ Bernd, it is serious. Your sporting directors decided to pay almost 40 million euros for a guy who seemed to have no other suitors, and it's time he started to pay some dividends. This is open message to Arjen: please slow down. Make your signing akin to Madrid paying big money for Sergio Ramos (which turned out to be a great signing) rather than becoming the next Nicolas Anelka, a £22m disaster who scored a whopping 8 goals (2 league) for Madrid before being cast away to PSG.

I hope Robben will overcome his physical problems and blossom into the promising winger he was at Chelsea. I've seen flashes of his play, and he can unsettle any defense with his speed when he's right.

The thought of Robben and Robinho on the flanks makes me giddy, but I'll wait to see it first. Robben has only been on the team a few months and he's already filled me with illusion only to dissapoint. I've learned my lesson and I'll let his play inspire me, if he can get ever get healthy.

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